NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior Ride Nashville is launching a new program to provide enhanced support for Davidson County’s oldest residents who are in a high-risk group for contracting COVID-19 and have been asked to remain at home. With the coronavirus numbers still on the rise, staying home aids in protecting them from the virus, while increasing the risk for depression and loneliness.
The CDC reports that older adults are at increased risk for loneliness and social isolation because they are more likely to face factors like living alone and the loss of friends and family members. Social isolation can significantly increase a person’s risk of premature death from all causes and is further associated with about a 50 percent increased risk of dementia. Loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.
Senior Ride Nashville’s new Friendly Neighbor Program (FNP) strives to support older adults remaining at home while curbing symptoms of loneliness and depression that many of us are experiencing right now. FNP volunteers will provide friendly phone calls, social stimulations and occasional errand support to members of the ride program. Volunteers work around their own schedule making it easy for them to enjoy giving back to their community. The program reduces loneliness and fosters connection even while physical isolation is necessary.
“My life is on hold” says one rider when asked how the virus has affected her. “It seems the COVID virus will be around for a longer time than we anticipated, and if so, I won’t be leaving my residence for a long time. I’m in the extremely vulnerable population – I’ll be 90 in six months. Normal activities pre-COVID would be too risky for me.”
Senior Ride Nashville seeks 50 volunteers.
Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the Friendly Neighbor Program page at https://www.seniorridenashville.org/